Welcome to the home page of the Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Laboratory at UC Davis. The Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Laboratory is an interdisciplinary research group, whose objective is to understand the healing processes of cartilage, and augment those processes via sound application of tissue engineering principles. Despite the tremendous advances brought on by biology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, cartilage regeneration remains a serious challenge. The tissues we study –articular cartilage, the knee meniscus, and the temporomandibular joint disc– exhibit little to no intrinsic ability to self-repair. In addition, they have very demanding biomechanical functions.
The main objective of the laboratory is to understand the healing processes of cartilage, and to augment those processes via sound application of tissue engineering principles. Our approach entails the use of both biomechanical and bioactive agents/signals. By applying forces to the tissue, construct, and single cell levels, we seek to elucidate the anabolic and catabolic thresholds of chondrocyte mechanotransduction and to develop translational technologies that enhance cartilage regeneration. We are also interested in identifying suitable, alternate cell sources, such as embryonic stem cells, dermis-derived aggrecan sensitive stem cells, and mesenchymal stem cells.
We have recently published a review articular in Science entitled “Unlike Bone, Cartilage Regeneration Remains Elusive.” (To access the article, please click the title of the article.) Science has also issued a podcast interview with Dr. Athansiou about this publication, which can be accessed by clicking this link.
As you explore our website, we hope that you gain a better understanding of the key issues and challenges in regenerating cartilage, our main areas of research, the diverse approaches we employ, and most importantly, the people that make up the lab.